There Is Some High Praise for Gus Bradley around the NFL

There Is Some High Praise for Gus Bradley around the NFL

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There are endorsements, and then there are glowing
endorsements. And then there is what Gus Bradley’s peers have been saying about
him.

Bradley arrived in Philadelphia this afternoon for a second
interview for the Eagles’ head coaching vacancy, and the buzz is he could be
offered the job today. While most fans seem to be enthusiastic about the
possible selection, many coaches around the league believe emphatically that
this is the right man for the job.

We know Gus can coach defense, as evidenced by what he has
done over four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. 2012 was his best effort yet
coordinating their defense, which finished fourth in the NFL in yards, and number
one in points allowed.

That’s great and all, but it doesn’t necessarily make him a
great head coach. If those numbers don’t do it for you, maybe the words of Pete
Carroll and Monte Kiffin will do it for you.

Here’s Carroll in an ESPN.com story about Bradley’s
candidacy:

"He's got a brilliant football
mind," Seahawks coach Peter Carroll said this week. "He's got a way
of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them,
coaches and players alike. He's got everything that you're looking for."

Okay, Carroll might be a little biased because Bradley works
for him. He has to say to nice things about the guy as long as he intends to
have him back if this head coach thing doesn’t work out – although it seems
unlikely Bradley wouldn’t get hired by somebody.

Kiffin of course is the legendary mastermind behind the
Tampa Cover 2 scheme, and as the recently hired defensive coordinator in
Dallas, is under no such obligation to speak highly of Bradley. Yet he first
recommended Bradley to then-Seattle chief Jim Mora, describing him as a “once-in-a-lifetime
coach.” What does he think, Phil Sheridan?

"He was born to be a head
coach," he said. "I'll tell you that right now. I promise you. He
will be a head coach in the NFL and a good one.

"He's great with players. They
really respond to him. They work hard for him. He's a great people person. The
fans will love him. The players will love him. Everybody in the building will
love him.

"He's tough, but he knows when
to pull off. He knows when to be tough and when not to be tough."

Bradley got his start in the NFL as quality control and then
a linebackers coach under Kiffin and Jon Gruden at Tampa Bay, so I guess it’s
natural he would only have good things to say, too. Still, this is nothing like
the tepid-by-comparison endorsement Peyton Manning gave Denver offensive
coordinator Mike McCoy a few weeks back, saying he’s paid his dues and all
sorts of other comments that played it safe.

According to those
who have worked with him closest, Bradley is a hell of a coach. Now what’s the
latest on the Eagles hiring him?

We don’t know, but Kiffin added this in Sheridan’s story
from last week:

"I've told people I've talked
to in the last week or so, if you interview him, there's a good chance you'll
hire him. He'll walk in [to the interview] and take over the room."

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NBA draft prospect Josh Jackson pleads guilty to misdemeanor for hitting car

NBA draft prospect Josh Jackson pleads guilty to misdemeanor for hitting car

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Former University of Kansas basketball player Josh Jackson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor traffic violation for backing into a car and driving away.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Jackson entered his plea Tuesday in Lawrence Municipal Court to striking an unattended vehicle. Two other charges, inattentive driving and improper backing, were dismissed.

Jackson, who is expected to be a top draft pick in next month's NBA draft, will be on probation for six months and must pay a $250 fine. If he violates his probation, Jackson would have to serve 30 days in jail.

Coach Bill Self suspended Jackson for the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament because of the incident.

The 6-foot-8 Jackson has now resolved two cases that had dogged him during his lone year at Kansas. He earlier reached a diversion agreement that requires him to attend anger management classes, write a letter of apology and refrain from using alcohol or recreational drugs for a year for his confrontation with a Jayhawks women's basketball player last year.

Jackson had pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage after he argued with McKenzie Calvert on Dec. 9 outside a bar in Lawrence. He signed the diversion agreement on April 26.

Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Hellickson good to go; Franco sits again

Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Hellickson good to go; Franco sits again

Phillies (15-28) vs. Rockies (30-17)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

The Phillies' nightmarish skid continued Tuesday as they dropped a second straight game to a Rockies rookie starting pitcher.

They've been outscored 16-3 in the first two games of this four-game series against a Colorado club that has the best record in the NL and more road wins (17) than the Phillies have total wins.

Let's take a look at Game 3:

1. Hellickson good to go
The Phillies got a scare last Friday night when Jeremy Hellickson hurt his lower back during his seventh-inning at-bat, but they avoided disaster when it was diagnosed as mere stiffness as opposed to something more serious like a strained oblique.

Hellickson said that night and again the next morning that he felt fine and wouldn't miss a start. The Phillies are thankful for that given the inefficiencies of their rotation, which has just 16 quality starts in 43 games, third-fewest in the majors.

Hellickson (5-1, 3.44) was locked in last weekend against a weak Pirates lineup but this is much more of a challenge. Don't expect him to set down 16 of 17 batters the way he did in Pittsburgh.

The Phillies are 8-1 when Hellickson pitches this season and 7-27 when anyone else does. The only loss in a Hellickson start came against the Cubs on May 2, the first of a three-start skid in which Hellickson allowed 12 runs in 13⅔ innings. Of those 12 runs, 11 scored via home runs. He allowed seven homers in those three starts after giving up just two in his first five.

The Rockies present a lot of challenges and one of them is that they've been the second-best team in the majors this season against the changeup, which is Hellickson's go-to pitch. Only the Marlins (.312) have a higher batting average vs. changeups than the Rockies (.286).

(For reference, the Phillies are 28th in baseball against changeups with a .201 batting average.)

Then again, not all changeups are the same, and Hellickson did limit the Marlins to one run on seven hits over six innings when he faced them April 27.

Current Rockies are just 10 for 56 (.179) off Hellickson. Ian Desmond has the only homer (2 for 5, HR, double).

2. Blackmon the Destroyer
Charlie Blackmon, good lord.

The guy has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. Over that span — Aug. 12, 2016 through last night — Blackmon has more homers at CBP than any Phillie.

Think about how ridiculous that is. Aaron Altherr and Ryan Howard are next with six homers in 15 and 17 games, respectively. Then comes Freddy Galvis with five in 26 games.

3. Fading fast
At 15-28, the Phillies are on pace to finish 57-105. They've dropped 19 of 23 and now have the second-worst record in the majors, ahead of only the 16-31 Padres.

The offense has been completely devoid of life lately. It's not like these guys are going out and playing with zero energy, but when you don't hit, it's always going to seem like that.

Since May 12, the Phillies are 2-9. They've hit .225/.273/.345 as a team for the second-worst OBP and OPS, ahead of only the Mariners.

They've been middle of the pack with runners in scoring position over that span, but they have just 89 plate appearances with RISP, which is seventh-fewest in baseball.

A lot of this can be attributed to the top of the order. Cesar Hernandez is 9 for 54 (.167) with no extra-base hits over his last 14 games. And that vaunted 1-2 in the Phillies' order — a duo which hit close to .350 in April — is down to .282.

4. Scouting Chatwood
The Phillies face 27-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-6, 5.09).

He was the Rockies' best starting pitcher last season when he went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 158 innings. He walked 70 and those control issues have continued this season — 27 walks in 53 innings.

He's been especially wild lately, walking 19 in 21⅔ innings this month. 

Chatwood averages 95 mph with his fastball and sinker and 88-90 with his slider and changeup. He also throws a high-70s curveball.

He faced the Phillies twice last year and went 0-2, allowing 10 runs (eight earned) in nine innings. Interestingly, though, no active Phillie has an extra-base hit against him.

Hopefully, the Phils will be able to make Chatwood work tonight and take advantage of their opportunities with men on base. They stranded the bases loaded three times last night.

5. Franco sits again
Maikel Franco and Cameron Rupp are sitting again. Pete Mackanin wants the extremely inconsistent, wild-swinging Franco to sit back and watch for a few days to regroup. He also wants to see some more of Andrew Knapp after a rough defensive week from Cameron Rupp.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Andres Blanco, 3B
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Andrew Knapp, C
8. Michael Saunders, RF
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P